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An Olympic Cyclist Known as 'The Rhino' is Trying His Hand at America's Cup Yachting

Nicknamed 'the Rhino' for his aggressive approach to keirin, van Velthooven could be a surprise asset for Team New Zealand.
February 15, 2017, 11:55pm
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A Kiwi Olympic cyclist known to his fans as 'the Rhino' is making a bid to join the Team New Zealand America's Cup campaign as a grinder.

Simon van Velthooven, who won bronze in the keirin at the 2012 Olympics in Beijing, is currently trialing for a spot on Team New Zealand's new AC50 catamaran.

Team New Zealand's new AC50 uses cycle pedestals for grinding machines - which raise and trim the sails and boom - meaning van Velthooven could be a perfect man to have onboard.

A Cycling New Zealand spokesman confirmed van Velthooven's new career path to RadioSport yesterday.

van Velthooven, nicknamed 'the Rhino' for his aggressive approach to keirin, isn't the first former Kiwi Olympian to try his hand at America's Cup grinding.

Rob Waddell, the chef de mission for New Zealand's team to Rio last year, switched to the role himself after winning a gold the single sculls rowing at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

The America's Cup will be held in June this year, in Bermuda.